Gold trophy Cup on prize podium

There’s only one week left to cast your vote in Cintas Corporation’s 2019 Custodian of the Year contest. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. PT on Friday, April 19. The nation’s top 10 finalists include a diverse group of talented and dedicated school custodians. Vote for your favorite custodian here.

The winner of the 2019 Custodian of the Year contest will receive a $5,000 cash prize along with $5,000 in products and services for his or her school from Cintas and Rubbermaid Commercial Products – not to mention bragging rights.

The top 10 finalists in the 2019 Custodian of the Year contest include:

Angel Aviles – Main Street School (Irvington, N.Y.)
Keeping a 100-year-old building filled with energetic elementary students in great shape can be a difficult task – but not for Angel Aviles, Main Street School’s beloved custodian. Whether he’s climbing the fire ladder to take pictures of the whole school (even though he’s scared of heights) or spending his weekend installing a new playground for the kids, Angel takes his responsibilities to new heights.
Micah Bootz – Sullivan Elementary School (Green Bay, Wis.)
With more than 620 students and nearly 100 staff members, Sullivan is Green Bay’s largest elementary school and requires someone who can keep up with it all through rain, shine and record-breaking snowstorms. Luckily, Mr. Bootz is the perfect man for the job. A former teacher, Mr. Bootz is a natural with the students and is often found giving out fist-bumps, sitting beside students who could use a buddy at lunch and editing a student’s news story for the school’s digital newspaper.
Miguel Cuellar – McKinley Elementary – (San Francisco, Calif.)
Most children don’t fight over who gets to sweep up the messy cafeteria floor, but if it means getting to spend some quality time with Mr. Miguel, McKinley Elementary School’s custodian, the line of students extends down the hall! From putting in overtime to help with renovations, to speaking Spanish with Hispanic students to ensure they feel welcomed and valued, Mr. Miguel goes above and beyond all expectations to make the school a clean, fun and thriving learning environment.
Howard Edwards – Cardinal John Foley Regional Catholic School (Havertown, Pa.)
When it comes to making holidays and school events special for students and staff, Mr. Howard is the man to see. Between celebrations, he teaches sewing classes as a part of the school’s elective program and even produced colorful costumes for the school’s production of Mary Poppins. Whether he’s saving a parking spot for a student with a broken leg or telling a joke to a child in need of cheering up, Mr. Howard’s heart of gold shines all day, every day.
Aristeo Flores – Scotts Valley Middle School (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
Aristeo Flores always has a warm, kind smile on his face. Over the last 17 years, his gentle demeanor, sense of humor and hard work has left a positive impact on Scotts Valley Middle School. He is always willing to lend a hand even when the task takes extra time and isn't part of his normal routine. Students and staff are grateful for his steadfast presence and interest in the well-being of all.
Debi Hess – Berry Intermediate (Lebanon, Ohio)
Miss Debi responds to all types of calls throughout the day – retrieving kickballs from the roof, helping students get into their jammed lockers and even filling in for a bus driver when one calls in sick! Known for her generosity, kind smile and fearlessness, Miss Debi makes every school day a memorable one for every student and faculty member.
Don Killingsworth – Sevilla West Elementary School (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Mr. Don, otherwise known affectionately as Pelón (‘bald man’ in Spanish) to Sevilla West Elementary students, always goes the extra mile to mentor kids around campus, especially those who may not have a strong father figure in their lives. Mr. Don continually extends his generosity to the community by donating clothing, shoes and even cell phones to those who need it most. Whether he’s wearing his crosswalk-duty uniform or dressing up as Santa Claus to read the Polar Express to students, Don is a true hero without a cape.
Graham McVay – Trenton High School (Trenton, Mo.)
Trenton may be a small town in Missouri, but it is home to a huge celebrity: Graham McVay, the custodian at Trenton High School for the last 31 years. Students who graduated and have children of their own in the school system still fondly recall Graham’s upbeat attitude, kindness and impressive memory that has never forgotten a single student’s name. At the end of the year, Graham can always be found at the senior graduation ceremony, cheering on another group of students who will remember him forever.
Tim Persenaire – Knapp Forest Elementary School (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
There’s no job too big for Mr. Tim, the custodian at two Grand Rapid elementary schools for nearly 40 years. This winter, students and faculty have had 13 snow days, but Mr. Tim has had none, always showing up early to shovel and salt sidewalks in freezing temperatures. Being only one of three custodians in two large school districts, Mr. Tim has an endless to-do list, but he always makes time for curious children – whether they want to know how to change a light bulb or how he builds the sets for an upcoming musical or play.
Nick Sifuentes – Hogan Cedars Elementary School (Gresham, Ore.)
Committed to building positive relationships with students who need extra support and attention, Hogan Cedars Elementary custodian Nick Sifuentes is often found greeting children as they start their day and leading the school’s Green Team and recycling program. Nick proudly serves on the Safety and Wellness Committee and Resource Team and approaches all challenges with a “can-do” attitude. Above all, Nick exemplifies the school’s motto: Engaging Hearts and Minds Every Day.